Four appointed to Order of Canada

Two York alumni – one of whom is over 100 years old, the other a famous author – and two honorary degree recipients have been named to the Order of Canada.

The honours, announced by Governor General David Johnston on Thursday, recognize distinguished service in or to a particular community, group or field of activity. A total of 50 new appointments were made, 15 officers and 35 members, on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada.

Nino Ricci (right) (BA Spec. Hons. ’81), was made a member for his contributions to Canadian literature as a renowned author. Ricci has won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction twice, the first time was in 1990 for his debut novel, Lives of the Saints, the second was in 2008 for The Origin of Species, which was also long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His fourth novel Testament also won an Ontario Trillium Book Award.

“I had some life-changing profs at York. Probably half the courses I took there had profs who were quite seminal to me,” Ricci told YFile in a 2008 interview.

 Edra I. Ferguson One of Canada’s first female judges, Edra I. Ferguson (left) (LLB ’30) was recognized for her pioneering achievements as a woman in law and politics, and for her advocacy of women’s rights. Born in 1907, she told the St. Thomas Times Journal recently that none of the male lawyers would hire her after she was called to the bar in 1930, so she went to work for her father, also a lawyer. Ferguson went on to become the first female alderman in St. Thomas, Ont., and the first female president of the St. Thomas Children’s Aid Society. She even took a run at being elected mayor.

An interview with Ferguson was recorded in 1992 as part of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History’s Osgoode Society Oral History Program, which is kept at the Archives of Ontario.

Frederick (Eric) Jackman Frederick (Eric) Jackman (right), who received an honorary doctor of laws degree from York in 2010, was appointed to the Order of Canada for his generous support of, and leadership in, the arts, education, health care and public policy.

Jackman is president of Invicta Investments Incorporated, chairman of the Jackman Foundation, a psychologist and staunch supporter of the arts, education and the community. He is also actively involved in several community, cultural, educational, military and professional organizations. His most important contribution to both the community and his profession is his founding and leadership as president of the Psychology Foundation of Canada.

Jackman has received several awards, including the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canada, the Order of Ontario and the Canadian Mental Health Association C.M. Hincks National Award for Mental Health.

Samantha NuttSamantha Nutt (left), who received an honorary doctor of laws degree at York’s Spring 2011 convocation ceremonies, was appointed for her contributions to improving the plight of young people in the world’s worst conflict zones, notably as a founder of War Child Canada.

A medical professional with over 15 years of experience working in war zones, Nutt is committed to peace, human rights and social justice, and helping war-affected women and children. She has worked in some of the world’s most violent flashpoints – with War Child Canada, the United Nations and non-governmental Organizations – including Iraq, Afghanistan, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia.

The founder and executive director of War Child Canada, Nutt has spearheaded efforts to provide direct humanitarian support and long-term programming to war-affected children and their families, and to promote greater awareness in Canada concerning the rights of children everywhere.  Among other honours, she was the recipient of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 Award. She was also awarded the Order of Ontario.

The Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours, was established in 1967, during Canada’s centennial year, to recognize a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation. Over the last 40 years, more than 5,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order.

For more information on the Canadian Honours System, visit the Governor General of Canada website.